Ukrainian Women on the Front Lines

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, war crimes fill the news, political dialogue seems hopeless and 7 million refugees—at least 90 percent of whom are women and children—have fled across the borders into Europe.

Still, resistance blossoms in Ukraine from a generation that’s enjoyed relative freedom and democracy. The way forward in Ukraine—and elsewhere—is through people power.

‘Dark Prison Mirrors the Dark Future of Afghan Women’: A Firsthand Account of a Former Taliban Prisoner

Since the fall of Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021, Afghan women—many of whom dedicated their lives and careers to working for equality—have experienced a systematic campaign of violence and subjugation. Many took to the streets to protest, and in turn have been beaten, arrested, tortured and murdered. This firsthand account of Mursal Ayar’s life and arrest is a powerful reminder of our common humanity, and the duty we all share to protect the world’s most vulnerable—yet remarkable—activists. 

“After those 13 days, I am like a little girl who is afraid of the night. I sleep next to my mother. The Taliban have not only taken my country from me; they have taken everything from me. My peace, my dreams, my hope and courage. I left the Taliban prison, but I could not regain what I have lost forever.”

Ms. Global: Iranian Women Unveil in Protest; Hungary Sued Over Anti-LGBTQ Law; Sierra Leone Overturns Abortion Ban

The U.S. ranks as the 19th most dangerous country for women, 11th in maternal mortality, 30th in closing the gender pay gap, 75th in women’s political representation, and painfully lacks paid family leave and equal access to health care. But Ms. has always understood: Feminist movements around the world hold answers to some of the U.S.’s most intractable problems. Ms. Global is taking note of feminists worldwide.

Keeping Score: Spain to Offer Paid Menstrual Leave; U.S. Soccer Teams Score Pay Equity; Taliban Dissolves Human Rights Commission

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in in this biweekly round-up.

This week: Spanish Cabinet approves paid sick leave for employees with menstrual pain; Lisa Cook becomes first Black woman on Federal Reserve board; baby formula shortage concerns U.S. parents; Oklahoma and Louisiana advance unprecedented abortion bans; Taliban dissolves nation’s human rights commission; American voters support upholding Roe v. Wade; America left reeling after back-to-back mass shootings; and more.

Taliban Reverses Pledge and Keeps Girls’ Schools Closed: ‘Why Are They Playing With Our Future?’

Despite much anticipation, the Taliban regime announced today that girls’ schools from grades 7-12 will remain closed. Devastated teachers and students did not know about the announcement until they arrived at their schools had to return home.

In speaking with the BBC, one in Kabul student said, “I feel really hopeless for my future. I don’t see a bright future for myself. All we want is to go to school.”